The house was built in 1886 by Michael Poeschel who also built Stone Hill Winery. It was the home of the Herzog family. They used it to lavishly entertain guests. Herzog and Stark bought the winery from Mr. Poeschel about ten years after it was built. The Stark home looks much like this house and is at the corner of 12th and Washington.
The house was purchased by Elmer and Gloria Birk in 1976 (hence the name Birk’s Gasthaus). They bought it as a family home. Some time prior to their purchase, the second floor was made into apartments, complete with kitchens. Elmer and Gloria took the second floor back to bedrooms. As their children got older and they began to leave home, Elmer and Gloria started to convert the home to a bed and breakfast.
In 1986 they started extensive renovations. The third floor originally held a cistern. There was a large metal tank, the gutters fed into it, and it enabled them to have water pressure for indoor plumbing. Although the metal tank was already gone, Elmer and Gloria added the four bedrooms and bathrooms on the third floor. About the same time, they added the “L-shaped” dining room and living area on the back of the house. Other changes have taken place periodically since then.
Elmer and Gloria began running Birk’s Gasthaus and instituted the Murder Mystery weekends in 1982. Yes, this was before all of the renovations. The first Murder Mysteries took place on the first floor and all of the meals were served in the formal dining room.